The Regional Universities Network (RUN) does not support the passage of the Higher Education Support Legislation Amendment (A More Sustainable, Responsive and Transparent Higher Education System) Bill 2017 (the HESLA Bill).
While too little detail is available for us to be able to model the full impact of the complex suite of reforms on our universities, serious perverse consequences for RUN universities are likely to be associated with such measures. These include: further lowering the participation rate of regional students in higher education; and detrimental economic and social impact in regional Australia.
Regional universities are anchor institutions for their regions. Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS) funding contributes to the myriad of ways that our universities provide for our students and communities – we do not receive separate funding for our contribution to regional development. We are more reliant on government funding for teaching and learning than older metropolitan universities. Any cut to the CGS will, therefore, impact relatively more on our universities and on what we can provide for regional students and communities.